Chapter

Catalina Mountain School, Tucson, Arizona

in Language of the Gun

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780226316086
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226316079 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226316079.003.0001
Catalina Mountain School, Tucson, Arizona

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This chapter presents interviews with thirty youths at the Catalina school, which reveals their fascination with guns and their attraction to firearms. All the interviews were begun with a display the three pictures of guns from the American Handgunner—the 9-mm, the .45-caliber semiautomatic, and the Colt .45 revolver—and offering a free-association prompt: “What are you thinking about?” A few of the youths expressed visceral opposition to them. Several conveyed their deep dislike for guns. Instead of informing public policy, the Catalina interviews serve to explore, unveil, and dissect the assumptions to espousing a particular law or policy. The Catalina interviews also develop and employ an analytic method that integrates in-depth qualitative interviews, an experimental element of free association, map analysis, and a multivariate statistical approach to graphing relations between categorical variables that is called correspondence analysis. The goal is to explore the language of guns among youths, to decipher the symbolic meaning of guns, to explore the relation between systems of meaning and youth gun policies in order to shed light on the assumptions about human behavior that shape the various legal and public policy options operating in the context of youths and guns.

Keywords: guns; public policy; Catalina school; youths; interviews; correspondence analysis; human behavior

Chapter.  4562 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law

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